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Books Editorial

princeandthepuppy.jpg The Prince and the Puppy
 

Jon Ahmad, Matador

I was moved by the story behind this fable as related in the foreword. It gives us a potted biography of Bashir Ahmad, a Muslim who was born in a village in India in 1935. When Pakistan became an independent state in 1947, there was an uprising among both Sikhs and Muslims and Bashir and his family had to flee their village in order to reach Pakistan amid much violence. He eventually emigrated from Pakistan in 1958, settling in Birmingham, before moving to Newcastle. While still living in India, Bashir was told bedtime tales by his mother, and the one related in this book was his favourite, which has now been written up by his son, Jon. It concerns Akeem, a prince with miraculous abilities living somewhere in Northern Africa, who must try to save his mother who has been imprisoned in a dungeon (along with the titular puppy). Modern readers may baulk at some of the plot points involving servants and multiple wives, but the central message, casting Islam as a religion of peace, is pertinent.